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ISDCaptain01

Anyone here a self-taught graphics programmer?

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LONG time lurker, just figured I'd post here to say that I am/was. I actually learned quite a bit online, especially from people's forum responses and guides (Even from L. Spiro, really).

 

I started making a pretty neat engine that incorporated actual 2d and 3d technology (think a mix of raycaster that swapped out to a voxel-like engine), and then I was offered a job doing high load database transactions for a backend payment processing company (Services ADP, Wells fargo, Etrade, Bank of america to name a few), working on extremely high performance databases in the performance lab, and took that.

 

Now I'm a Chief technical lead for a multi-million dollar piece of software, and I'm only 24.

 

I guess what I'm saying is, don't try to just be a graphics programmer, try to get your feet wet with general programming concepts, because quite frankly, working as a non-game programmer is going to pay much more, and give you much better hours.

 

As for a degree, I got a BS in CS, which helps getting an entry level job a LOT. But if you're good at what you do, then it doesn't really matter. Also, as soon as you get 1/2 a year of experience under your belt, no one cares about your degree.

 

My boss (The CEO) has a Masters in business from Harvard, and he didn't care at all that I have a B.A in computer science from Devry. He cares that I can get the job done well, and direct the development team.

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I am kinda both, since I am finishing my degree next year, but in "Computer systems and programming", and I am starting graphics programming courses in two weeks from now. But everything related to graphics programming I learned on my own. And it's fun, I don't do it for money, but I want to soon (i am worried about this idea since it's hard to find a job dealing with graphics programming in my region :< ).

 

About picking the material, first I decided what I want to do. After that I used google. I found simple tutorials (just to get the idea). Then I found about GameDev, whenever I am stuck or confused, people here always help me, they are very kind and understanding. Will even give you interesting pointers and new ideas :) Remember that with programing, arts or any other field you need patience, it's key to everything :)

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Another Rob with a very similar story to Rob....

 

I started out in the 80's with BASIC on the speccy, progressed to z80 asm, transitioned to C and the Amiga, then had a brief hiatus when I went a bit nuts for fine art, and then went to uni to train to become an animator. After graduation I moved into the games industry, and then quickly moved back to programming (mainly because the artists tools were crap, and I kinda needed what needed to be fixed and had enough programming knowledge to be able to do it). Spent 10 or so years in the games industry focussed mainly on animation and rendering engines, with a splattering of art tools here and there. These days I'm doing R&D on visual FX within the film industry....

 

Most of what I've learned has either been self taught, or just simply by picking up fellow co-workers tricks and tips. Read anything and everything. Talk to as many people as possible (including artists!). Try out as many techniques as you can, and don't forget to have fun whilst you're doing it!

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We soon hit the limits of this programming language, and via some strange channels found AMOS, a basic dialect specifically for games. What an enlightment it was! We coded a lot of crude games for it, one of it we even tried to sell as Shareware, only to upload it for free after a few months and <10 units sold. Does that make me indie?


And if anyone wants to see what AMOS could do back then, here was my licenseware release (someone somewhere obviously liked it enough to post a video of it on youtube!):

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=_uZVQmJaqeI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_uZVQmJaqeI

People have stated that I sampled the yelps and shrieks from IK+, cheeky gits, it was actually from a famous film, no prizes for guessing which one..... Am I allowed to divulge that now??

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Yes and no.

 

I've got a formal mathematics education (and degree to prove it) but I've never had any formal programming/computer science training.

 

To be honest, the maths is the tricky part, you don't need to be able to do it, you just need to understand the concepts, once you've got that down the code itself (excluding optimisation) is relatively easy.

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I am self taught as well when it comes to graphics.  I started about 2 years ago learning OpenGL, just by reading books.  Books and experience are really the best ways to get into graphics programming.  I'd say the hardest part for me was the mathematics.  I hadn't used linear algebra or calculus in years, and all of the sudden, it's taken for granted that I know how to solve a system of linear equations or integrate a function across a hemisphere.  So it takes some time to get back into that mindset, but once you do, it all starts flowing back.  

 

I am now in the process of creating a vector-based map application for my job using OpenGL ES on the iPhone, and I am developing a game and a level editor in my spare time using DirectX.

 

Some of my favorite books are:

http://www.amazon.com/OpenGL-Shading-Language-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B005GV32H6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359742043&sr=8-2&keywords=opengl+4.0+shading+language+cookbook

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-3D-Game-Programming-DirectX/dp/1936420228/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359742126&sr=1-1&keywords=frank+luna+directx+11

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Time-Rendering-Third-Edition-ebook/dp/B007COYODQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359742054&sr=1-1&keywords=real+time+rendering

http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Programming-Computer-Graphics-ebook/dp/B0051GJIRO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359742092&sr=1-1&keywords=3d+mathematics+for+computer+game+programming

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Time-Collision-Detection-Interactive-Technology/dp/1558607323/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359742104&sr=1-1&keywords=real+time+collision+detection

 

These should more than get you started in the "3D world".

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